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U.S. Cool to Israel’s Arguments, Will Arm Egypt

August 2, 1954
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

State Department officials this week-end indicated that the United States Government does not intend to put pressure on Egypt to come to terms with Israel. They expressed the belief that Israel will eventually benefit from the results of the agreement reached last week between Britain and Egypt, under which British troops will be withdrawn from the Suez Canal area within twenty months.

The State Department officials said that, in their opinion, American military aid to Egypt would not affect the balance of power in the Middle East, They contended that, at present, the balance is in Israel’s favor, and the United States is in a position to maintain the balance between Israel and the Arab countries and to prevent serious outbreaks. They emphasized that Israel’s application for military aid would eventually be granted, but not for some time.

The government officials expressed their view following a visit to the State Department by Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, Mr. Eban told Assistant Secretary of State Henry A. Byroade that Israel considers that the Western Powers are morally and politically obliged to take political and practical action to prevent a dangerous imbalance from arising in the Middle East as a result of the Anglo-Egyptian pact.


Ambassador Eban, who is scheduled to meet early this week also with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, told Mr. Byroade that the position of the Israel Government is that complete abstention from furnishing munitions grants to participants in the Palestine war is preferable to safeguard peace, but the arming of Egypt without similar assistance to Israel would make nonsense of the State Department doctrine of “impartiality. ” Israel fears British evacuation of the Suez zone will facilitate renewed Egyptian aggression against the Jewish State.

The pending U.S. grant of munitions to Egypt is opposed by Israel because it is felt the balance of power in the Near East has already been swung to the Arabs’ favor by the U. S. arms grant to Iraq. Current apprehension exists lest the arming of Egypt by the United States would completely destroy the equilibrium avowedly sought by the Tripartite Declaration of 1950. The United States has ignored Israel’s request for military assistance since 1952.

Recent belligerent statements by Egyptian government leaders have been brought to the attention of the State Department as evidence of the basis for Israel’s concern. Apart from the question of military imbalance, Israel maintains that the Western Powers should see to it that the current Suez settlement should require Egypt to end its anti-Israel blockade of the Canal, and to heed United Nations resolutions.

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